Saturday, 3 March 2018
…when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5
The words here now take us back to verse 3. Paul had said, “I thank God.” Now he continues that thought with, “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you.” Paul’s gratitude to God is found in Timothy’s sincere faith. He calls it to remembrance as if the most cherished of memories.
For a true and sound believer, the faith – steadfast and deep-rooted – is truly a source of rejoicing. This is because when we think of our beloved brother or sister, we know that when they face a time of great trial, sadness, or disappointment, it will not be a reason for that person to be in utter despair. Genuine faith does not mean that they will not feel the pains of life, but that they will be able to endure them without losing all heart. Faith in Christ will ultimately be their rock of stability. In this, we can truly give thanks to God.
Paul next notes that Timothy’s faith “dwelt first in your grandmother Lois.” Here is a word used only once in all of the Bible, mammé, or “grandmother. It is comparable to us saying “mamma” to a grandmother as a term of endearment. The word “dwelt” is in the past tense, implying that Lois is now dead, but that while alive, faith resided in her as if in an abode. She was the first in the line of Timothy to possess saving faith, and it resided in her in a way obvious to those around her. Hence, Paul’s note of it now.
Likewise, he adds in, “and your mother Eunice.” The same thoughts apply to her as to Lois. They were both now dead, but while alive, they were women of great faith. Eunice was a Jewess. This is learned from Acts 16:1 –
“Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.”
It is implied that the father was not a believer, but the mother had received her Messiah at some point during her life. As only Eunice is mentioned, but not by name in Acts, and as both are mentioned now, it is a note which truly displays the authenticity of this epistle. The two accounts beautifully align to comprise a united picture of this family of faith.
Finally Paul, speaking of these women’s faith, says, “and I am persuaded is in you also.” Paul knew this was true, but by saying it in this way, it is given as an encouragement to Timothy that his faith is one of a noble tradition which looked to Chris Jesus. In this, Paul was stirring up Timothy to continue in that tradition and build upon it.
Life application: There are times when reminding someone about their family’s faith is an appropriate thing to do. If Franklin Graham were to seem overwhelmed with the challenges of his ministry, patting him on the back and saying, “You are from a great line of faithful people” would be a great encouragement to him. It would remind him of the things his father had done and it would then spur him on to even greater things. We should remember this, be aware of the line of faith in others, and use that in an appropriate manner when needed.
Heavenly Father, some of us have come from a line of believers in Christ Jesus that goes back for generations. Some of us are the first in our line. In each, there is a unique opportunity. We can build upon the faith of our fathers, or we can start a new line of faithful followers, encouraging the next generation to fan the flames of our love of Christ. No matter what, may each of us be willing to continue on this line of love for Jesus, and to make it grow and flourish in our families. To Your glory! Amen.